Namco Bandai has announced the return of its cult hit Katamari Damacy franchise with Beautiful Katamari, a new next-gen version for PS3 and Xbox 360 featuring online multiplayer modes and downloadable content expansions.
One of Namco's most beloved latest properties, Beautiful Katamari marks the first internally developed Katamari game announced since the PSP's Me & My Katamari was released over a year ago, and the first since Namco announced that its Katamari team had been dismantled around the same time.
In January of this year, though, Korean developer WindySoft announced it would be involved in developing an online PC multiplayer version of the game, signaling that Namco would allow the franchise to continue, even without series creator Keita Takahashi at its helm. Takahashi left the series after its first sequel, We Love Katamari, to work on something entirely new.
For its next-gen debut, Namco Bandai promises 720p "Katamari-style quirky and unique high-definition graphics," an entirely new soundtrack, and, in a first for the series (should it beat WindySoft's version to market), an online feature for multiplayer modes over Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.
Finally, Namco Bandai has announced that the online components will be expanded beyond merely multiplayer gaming with downloadable content for both services which will expand upon Beautiful Katamari's world, as well as further online features yet to be announced.
No firm release date has yet been set for the game, but Namco Bandai says it will hit North American shores some time in 2007.